Yesterday I had juice for breakfast, this you know. I had packed my usual for lunch-nut butter sandwich, carrots and a larabar-but I felt like I just needed to go out to lunch. I decided to call my friend Vanessa.
We have known each other since I worked in the Study Abroad office a couple of years ago and we go to lunch every now and again to catch up. Today we decided on McAlister’s. Usually when I eat at McAlister’s I get a Nacho app, turkey melt and Sun Chips or Doritos. I was trying to eat healthier, obviously, so this time I chose a Veggie Club sandwich and some baked Lay’s. It was stacked like its namesake, but filled with avocado, red peppers, cucumbers, lettuce and two types of cheese.
To switch gears abruptly – I named this blog Heavy Evan not only because I am personally heavy, but also because I wanted to speak about matters that are “heavy”. So here I go.
Social Media is an interesting beast. It allows instant gratification. I can say something witty and it might be “liked” or “re-tweeted”. But, what happens when it isn’t? It is a very fast road to depression. I thought a lot about the last scene from The Social Network when thinking about this topic. He had everything he could have ever wanted, but all he really wanted was the one girl who liked him to, well, like him.
Ever since I can remember I have been what Albus Dumbledore would call a “fierce friend”. I would do anything for you. I truly love and love hard. I still think about a friend of mine in high school named…well, let’s call her Opal. Maybe the reason she sticks in my mind is because she was the first popular person to “like” me. I truly LOVED her. Not in a romantic way, although I did harbor a crush occasionally, but in every other way you could. She was funny and had a great personality. She was always positive and encouraging. I have not spoken to her in eight years.
Now, the sheer fact that I am saying this is not charming to people, it’s creepy. Because I am a man, I am somehow not allowed to have emotions. I am not allowed to be passionate about the people in my life. This makes me weird or gay. This is utter crap. I can tell you of more nights than I can count that I cried myself to sleep because I gave everything I had to someone and they easily forgot me. There are faces that still waft through my mind, people that at one time meant everything to me. They were my forever friends that are no longer even acquaintances.
I wanted to protect myself in this regard, so I decided on a three strike rule. I would in-itiate contact three times and if it was not reciprocated, I would never initiate it again. This worked like gangbusters for a while. But, once I love someone I cannot forget them. So I have broken my rule numerous times. And I have gotten hurt numerous times.
This is what I mean about social media. The idea of a true friend has been diluted down to a picture we press a button next to. And you know what really hurts? When someone you love doesn’t even push your button. Snail mail is ancient, email is too much effort, messaging on Facebook is too much effort, 140 character tweets are too much effort. I am starting to think that the dream I had of having a friend that lived next door, that hung out on the porch while our children played together, and that grew old with me, will never come true. I guess friends are just made to be in your life at certain points and then go away.
I was thinking on these things while I was driving to pick Nikki up tonight. I drove past a dead deer that had been dumped by the side of the road. I thought about how that deer was enjoying life until something came along and ruined it. Something pierced his heart and instead of frolicking in a meadow he is now dumped by a state highway. Sad and alone and changed forever. Some part of me relates to that deer. How he would have been better off if that something never came into his life.
But, I still think about you all. I still love you all like I did all those years ago. I still pray that you are well and happy.
I still think it’s my fault.And I don’t know a soul who’s not been battered I don’t have a friend who feels at ease I don’t know a dream that’s not been shattered Or driven to its knees But it’s alright, it’s all right We’ve lived so well so long Still, when I think of the road we’re traveling on I wonder what went wrong I can’t help it, I wonder what went wrong. Selected lyrics from American Tune by Paul Simon (that one always makes me cry)
P.S. While I always appreciate and love your comments, please don’t think that I am somehow sad or depressed. I just pledged to always be honest, and sometimes I think about these things and I was thinking about them when I wrote this. I am a very happy man with a very happy life who sometimes feels sad about losing friends. But those feelings go away when I see my wife smile and say “Hey honey”.